The garden of the Residence of the British High Commissioner, HE Alison Blake, provided the setting for a solo exhibition of sculpture by Arham-ul-Huq Chowdhury ‘Hard Emotions’, dramatically arranged and lit, so that the changing shadows and perspectives and the contrast with the foliage added further depth and contrast to the emotions portrayed in and evoked by the works themselves.
The sculptures were created by the artist and made in the workshop of the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), where the artist was assisted by CRP workshop staff using the leftover pieces of metal after the wheelchairs and other mobility aids are constructed. CRP is a project of the Trust for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed in Savar, an organisation working across a broad spectrum of disability, especially spinal cord injury where even the poorest of the poor receive treatment, rehabilitation and vocational training. It was founded by Valerie Taylor in 1979, who has been working since 1969 in this country in the field of disability.
The artist, Arham-ul-Huq Chowdhury is trained in anthropology and held various solo exhibitions including pioneering in furniture, Bangla calligraphy, natural dye and Bonsai. A volunteer for more than 16 years at CRP, the artist held a similar type of exhibition entitled ‘From the Ashes’ at the Bengal Gallery in 2005. “Every incident evokes emotions differently to different people, in a game someone’s defeat is another’s triumph. The same incident can appear differently to different individuals, based on their various emotional attachments to it. It is all about portrayal. Here, in this series of sculptures, emotions are being captured with a hard material made of iron, in fact pieces of scrap metal. Made in a workshop where various mobility aids are made and the pieces are constructed with the off cuts and salvaged broken parts, hence the title of the series “Hard Emotions”.
‘Hard emotions’ was previously shown at the Alliance Francaise in Dhaka in September-October 2016. The artwork is available for sale and all proceeds raised go direct to the CRP to support its work.
Opening the exhibition, Alison Blake said “I was delighted when Valerie Taylor and Arham-ul-Huq Chowdhury approached me to ask if I would be willing to host this exhibition of Arham’s inspiring and thought-provoking work and to help support the CRP. Those who already know Arham will I hope enjoy seeing his works afresh and literally in a new light; and for those who haven’t seen what he and the CRP workshop have achieved together, I hope that like me, they will be inspired by the transformations worked by the artist on metal as well as by CRP in transforming lives of the disabled and paralysed. Arham has devoted all proceeds from his work to CRP, and I hope that this exhibition will encourage as many people as possible to support their work“.